"Beer in Colorado" is dedicated to that divine elixir born of the marriage of water, malt, hops, and yeast as interpreted
by those living in Colorado. Follow the author as he visits every brewery in the state, creates experimental homebrews,
attends beer festivals, tries interesting beers from around the world, and spreads the good word of beer. Prost!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fat Girl at the Prom

Where does one turn when the weather is colder than Nancy Grace’s panties?  The classic beverage of choice when faced with unrelenting frigidness is usually brandy, scotch, or some other throat-tingling liquor.  Beer so rarely makes the list.  Beer, to the general public, is seen as a warm weather drink—something to drink at the ball game or at a barbeque.  While certain styles of beer are best enjoyed in the sunshine, other styles are best suited for sub-zero nights.

It was just such a night last night in Denver when Nicole and I attended our first Big Beer Crawl (Denver’s premier beer-worshipping club) event at the Colt & Gray.  It’s hard to pinpoint one reason why we’ve yet to attend one of Big Beer Crawl’s events because there are a myriad of reasons: out of town, night classes, prior plans, what have you.  In fact, we were going to miss this event had Snowgar—a heathen god of my creation—not smiled upon us and cancelled my night-class by means of nipple-hardening bitterness.  The event centered around the tapping of Avery Brewing Co.’s Rumpkin (13.80% ABV).

I like to think myself a pretty clever guy when it comes to word play which is why I felt dumb for not realizing until well into the beer that the name of this particular offering is derived from the fact that it is a pumpkin-style beer aged in rum barrels.  I was trying to put my finger on the unique flavor when Nicole looked it up on her Blackberry.  As if magnetically attracted, my open palm found my forehead.  Rumpkin, like Odell’s Avant Pêche, is a specialized fruit beer with hardly any detectable fruit flavor; the rum and spices are so overpowering.  If I went into this beer even more ignorant than I was, I’d say the beer was brewed with cherries because it had such a tart, burning, pucker quality.  That can be attributed to the rum.  However, as the beer warmed (Don’t worry, a beer such as this will warm before you’re done.  Don’t expect to chug-a-lug with a high-in-ABV Rumpkin or you’ll find yourself admiring the craftsmanship of the ceiling as your buddies drag your prone body out the door and into the gutter.  Each sip was as shiver-inducing as a shot of hard liquor), I finally started tasting pumpkin.  Rumpkin is warm and tingly kind of beer that is perfect for the intense cold that Denver is currently experiencing.  Forgo the brandy and grab some of this when you’re sitting by a crackling fire and wriggling your toes in a bearskin rug.

Unfortunately, I did not make any new beer contacts at this event.  Big Beer Crawl seems to be a close-knit clique which makes it difficult for the newcomer.  Then again, it’s not like I did anything to put myself out there, either.  That’s partially due to my embarrassment over my attire.  Nobody told me Colt & Gray was such a fancy place; I came in wearing my Tui (New Zealand beer) t-shirt and an Odell trucker cap.  Everybody else came in sweaters, vests, and sweater vests.  Come on people, this is a beer lover’s gathering not a country club mixer. The other reason I was unable to interject myself in the group was because I had recently and shamelessly plugged this very blog on Big Beer Crawl’s Facebook page.  Although I’m sure they didn’t read a lick of it they still complimented me on the blog’s quality and then promptly removed my post.  They were very nice about it but I’m still self-conscious about the affair.  I’ll give them another go, though.  This is a great organization and these people know where the good stuff is.  I’m a sucker for any beer-related event.

Keep warm, Colorado.  Rumpkin can help in those regards.



Rumpkin.  Please excuse the shoddy picture--Colt & Gray was very dark.  If you can't tell, Rumpkin is a dark orange/red.
Like Chris, I was excited to attend this event knowing that another “cold day” was on deck and I didn’t have to go to work. I first tasted a pumpkin beer last year when we visited the Rock Yard Brewery in Castle Rock. I was hooked by their Plymouth Rock Pumpkin Ale with its creamy mouthfeel and pumpkin pie flavor. I even brewed my own pumpkin pie beer with pumpkins from my parents’ garden.   I was ready to try another pumpkin inspired beer. The Rumpkin was offered in 2, 6 and 12 ounce servings. I went with the 2 ounce taster which turned out to be a wise choice. At 13% ABV, even 2 ounces was enough for me to feel its effect. I savored every sip of this beverage, noting the hints of cinnamon and then feeling the punch of the rum. The beer tasting was an educational experience as was the people-watching. Colt & Gray was filled with interesting conversations, attire, and drink requests (some guy ordered a Green Point, something the bartender hadn’t even heard of). As I watched argyle sweaters mingle with suit coats, Chris and I talked about the flavors, aromas, and colors of the beer. I thought this was a beer tasting event for beer geeks like us but I was wrong. I felt so out of place in this crowd compared to the sense of belonging that I feel when I show up to a brewery with our beer journal in hand. At least the bartender was friendly and willing to chat about her “home-made” liquors and other concoctions that sat on the shelves behind the bar. As I left the stinging cold feeling of the gathering and walked out into the frigid cold, Chris urged me that we should attend another event and give it a second chance. I comforted myself by visiting the Irish Snug to play some Geeks Who Drink trivia with some good friends where we chatted about joining together to brew something this weekend.


  1. Sweaters, vests, and sweater vests! I guess I can't read this blog at work if it makes me lol.

  2. Thank you for the kind comment. I've recently started following your blog as well.